I'm Lisa, and this is where I blog
about my interactions with music, art and
culture in Toronto and wherever else I end
up. I'm a freelance writer, I live and spend most of my time in my favourite neighborhood - Queen West, and my Pomeranian, Mr Bojangles, is the light of my life.
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Happy Friday, peeps! Guess what. It’s March tomorrow! I know it’s still freezing – but we are soooo close to bearable weather again. We’ve almost made it. That is reason enough to celebrate this weekend. I’m heading to grilled cheese fest today – putting aside the fact that dairy doesn’t agree with me – because being paid to eat gourmet grilled cheese and write about it is a dream I once had as a small child. Time to make it come true.
Hope your weekend will be filled with something just as fun!
I thought my love for Lena couldn’t grow any stronger, but this entire conversation with Grantland’s Bill Simmons on The BS Report had me thinking up what it would actually take for me to meet her and become her best friend. If you are one of those people who think she is Hannah, please watch, and learn how smart and well spoken she really is.
It’s an hour long conversation, and I loved some of what she said so much that I wanted to write it out for my own sake, and figured it would also be a good thing to share.
ON THE LACK OF SPACE FOR FEMALE VOICES
“Lena: It can’t be denied that there is, in most industries – with the exception of nursing and quilting and hair – a bias towards men. But I also think – and this is the same thing I think about female directors – that a lot of the traits that are instilled in women from a young age like positivity, equanimity, making people feel good all the time – people think or are afraid that that is at odds with being a director or a show runner or a person who is in a position of authority. But the fact is – Jenni and I rule the Girls set with love – it’s run from an emotional, connected place – and it still happens. There is room for all kinds. There is no one personality type that has the skill to manage the goings on of a television show.
There’s also this really frustrating thing where networks kinda go – we already have our women’s show – i’m sure i’d be willing to bet that most networks that already have a show aimed towards women running say – we don’t necessarily have room for a couple more of those. Networks and studios still seem to be almost pathologically incapable of understanding that women make up 52% of the planet and, therefore, programming that has women at its center is not a fad or a trend, it’s a necessary part of media.
People don’t always recognize that if a young woman is looking at the landscape of Hollywood – what they see are almost only challenges. And so they might say ‘That’s not where I wanna go – I wanna go where I feel like there’s a space for me.’ It’s a specific personality who goes ‘I see no room for me, and I’m going for it.’
That’s one of the things I like so much about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In philosophy - the idea that women have to create space for other women and women who rise to a position of power can’t be complacent in trying to bring other women along with them. It’s our responsibility to bolster each other and our responsibility to guide each other and mentor each other and be present for each other, because otherwise it can be such a crazy battle.”
THE NEED FOR LESS COLLABORATION IN ART – MORE AUTEURS PLEASE
The host also brought up something I STRONGLY believe to be true not just in great TV, but in anything creative – the more voices involved – the more the quality recedes – the act of trying to please and/or represent a larger group of people just waters everything down. The strongest voice usually stands alone, because it is one singular, highly defined POV – its point comes across clean without being tainted by the opinions of others. You can express a relatable emotion clearly when it’s coming from your own unique POV.
Here’s what they said:
“Bill: It’s either one person or two people that make a show. One of the reasons network TV sucks, is, for the most part – it’s this by consensus committee of creativity instead of just saying – there’s Vince Gilligan, and we’re trusting him.
Lena: It’s a really amazing thing when networks can have the bravery to just like, put their faith in something. That’s one of the great skills of HBO, is just like, saying we’re gonna trust the vision even when it doesn’t totally make sense to us, and so even our failures will be noble failures cause we’re going down with the ship of an artist who has an idea.”
As soon as a bunch of others start pushing their idea into a specific artists POV – something concrete and powerful turns to mush (hence, most sitcoms/network shows are shitty but Breaking Bad and Girls fucking rule).
The biggest blogs are run by one person alone – Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet, - collective blogs rarely achieve the same success because you aren’t really getting to know/connect with someone. It’s a bunch of people, so it rarely provides the intimate insight people crave when consuming. The best films are written, directed and either produced or starring the same person – Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, Woody Allen (eep), Tina Fey, Wes Anderson, etc etc. The more roles the artist can fill, the better the piece will be (most of the time, and only if they’re capable of and desiring to fill those various shoes). Musically, my favourite albums are the ones produced by the musician in their basement on a 4 track, alone (see Elliott Smith’s Roman Candle and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska). Focused, clear, untainted work – a look inside the mind of that person or the character they created – with no one else getting in the way of the process and fucking it up.
The whole conversation is so great. I highly recommend watching it in its entirety, but you can also go right to the part where they discuss the above, at around 50 minutes in:
Posted on Monday February 24 by Lisa Lagace at 7:53 am
Had this one sitting in drafts for a while, almost forgot about it. But it’s a must if you missed it when they first released this cover back in the summer. What an honour for Arcade Fire to be covered by such a classic band – and they did the song right.
I actually like this version better because I can really hear and understand the lyrics. The orchestration on it is so beautiful, and the production is perfect.
Posted on Sunday February 23 by Lisa Lagace at 7:08 am
All right, so – as the Putin link below explains – I’ve been trying not to give too much attention to the Olympics this year because I’m incredibly disgusted with the politics of Russia, and I think it’s a travesty that the IOC allowed such a brutal place to host these games. But, with that said, even I can’t deny my Canadian pride after that incredible nail biter of a game the Canadian women’s hockey team won yesterday. I only tuned in for the last 5 minutes of overtime, but damn – it was worth it. That has to be one of the greatest comebacks in hockey history.
There is a point where you have to separate the athletes from the politics, and acknowledge that it’s not fair to rob them of their one moment after 4 years of hard work because of the IOC’s massive mistake.
7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People The point about spending money on experiences rather than things is something I’ve found to be incredibly true. The more I’m out experiencing life and new things/people/places, the happier I am.
Finally, watch Pussy Riot’s video for “Putin Will Teach You How To Love” aka the thing they were making when they were publicly WHIPPED by a bunch of Putin’s men for making music in the street. If you’ve ever wanted to see women whipped by men in a very non consensual, horrific way – check it out below. This is the country that is currently hosting the world. Shameful. Why didn’t the IOC let Iraq host the games in 2004? Not much difference.
Posted on Friday February 21 by Lisa Lagace at 7:36 am